The future of Australia’s largest coal mine will be in the minds of Queenslanders as they hit the polls today.
Debate on the $17 billion project has dominated the election campaign. At a time of low regional job growth, the mine’s addition of 1,200 jobs to rural Queensland has been at the heart of campaign messaging. However, concerns about damage to the Great Barrier Reef and the environmental impact of coal-generated power have sparked protests around the country.
Polling has consistently put opposition to the mine above 55%. Heeding public pressure, the incumbent Labor government has pulled support for a $770 million taxpayer-funded infrastructure loan and endorses a veto on public funding of the mine. Labor needs opposition approval to veto, but steadfast support from the opposition for mining means funds are likely to pass through to the mine before December.
Today’s state election is expected to go down to the wire, with pollsters putting Labor marginally ahead—whether or not the veto threat resonates with inner-city voters will be key.
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